Late Sept. 30, with a government shutdown looming, House Republicans went about ensuring a long fight by blocking a potential avenue for ending the shutdown. How did they do this? By rigging the House rules less than two hours before shutting down the government. Guess who was holding the card to this? House Majority Leader Eric Cantor?(R-VA). The new House rules state:
?[w]hen the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with House or Senate amendments, a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged? ? at least they did until House Republicans changed that rule so such a move ?may be offered only by the majority Leader or his designee.?
Speaker John Boehner’s plan was to “insist” on a spending bill, including an anti-Obamacare provision, knowing Senate Democrats would reject such a move and return a ?clean? bill to the House floor. Previously, when such an impasse was reached, any member of the House could make a motion to vote on the Senate’s bill. Such a motion could have been joined by the 24 moderate republicans to bring the tally over the needed 217 votes, thus avoiding the shutdown. However, under the new rule change, such a motion can only be brought by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).
“The speaker and I have both said that the Republican position is we believe we should fund this government?? Cantor said.
But still refuses to allow for a motion to vote on the ?clean? Senate Bill. On Sept. 30, Republican leadership seemed well aware that moderate Republicans would not support shutting down the government. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) stated,
What we’re attempting to do is to actually get our people together rather than trying to make a decision.
This was one hour before the government officially shut down. Sessions made very clear that the leadership was attempting to avoid ?privileged motions that could take place almost effective immediately.? Several Republicans who have come out in favor of the ?clean? funding bill are being held hostage by Cantor’s refusal to allow for regular order in the House. Any attempts to open the government have been blocked by Republican leadership, including attempts to fund the government at sequester levels. Eric Cantor questioned House Democrats resolve:
“This assumption that everyone is operating on, that somehow there is unanimity on the Democratic side that they would support a [continuing resolution to fund the government] at sequester levels, is an assumption that I question,” he said. “Again, we’re trying to find the things that we can agree on in common where there is a majority vote in both houses.”
So the nation is suffering while Eric Cantor, the individual responsible for continuing the shutdown, works to ensure the fairness of the democratic process of the house and senate in an immensely patriotic fashion.